Positives for Perth after Jets win

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Perth Glory boss Ian Ferguson was understandably delighted with his side’s 3-2 win against the Newcastle Jets last night, thought admitted his side were second best for a lot of the contest.

“It was a good three points,” he said.

“I felt Newcastle put us under pressure in the second half; they pressed us high and their wide players were coming in which caused us a few problems.”

Ferguson also praised his team’s character to come back from a goal down and then to push for a winner against the run of play.

“It wasn’t as fluent as it has been over the past three, four weeks and to get the win was really pleasing,” said the Scot.

The match winner was Chris Harold, who came off the bench to fire home from close range in the 85th minute.

Harold moved across from Gold Coast United following their demise at the end of the last campaign, and after an injury in preseason, he has proven to be a very good option from the bench in recent weeks.

“I’m a new player at the club so I’m just trying to work myself into the team,” said Harold

“I’ve made a few bench appearances over the last few games and I thought I’ve done what a substitute should do and that’s make an impact.

“Tonight the ball landed at me in the six yard box and I couldn’t really miss.”

With Shane Smeltz due to resume training on Monday and Billy Mehmet leading the line well in the Kiwi’s absence, Glory will no doubt be delighted with their current array of options up front.

How the Jets set themselves up

Tale of two absentees 

With Perth Glory skipper Jacob Burns out injured, it was always going to leave the team’s back four more exposed and after the game Ian Ferguson spoke about how that altered his set up with Steve McGarry asked to play a deeper role.

“I don’t think we gave the protection we normally do with Jacob being there cause Jacob’s normally the holding screener,” he said.

“It was strange for Steven McGarry to go in there because he’s played ‘10’ for the last year and a half or so.”

There were certainly times when Newcastle enjoyed a lot of possession in and around the area which Burns usually patrols, and as much as he splits opinions across the country, there’s no denying the former Socceroo’s importance to Glory.

Meanwhile, the Jets suffered from the absence of Dominik Ritter, ruled with a quad injury just before kick off.

Craig Goodwin moved to left back, a boost for Glory given his recent form, while James Brown started on the left wing.

While Brown was decent in his first outing of the campaign, Goodwin’s attacking play was a massive loss though he did try get forward as much as possible along with Scott Neville on the other side.

Jobe Wheelhouse played the ‘Erik Paartalu Role’, dropping deep between Josh Mitchell and Tiago Calvano to make a back three, and Neville managed a few foraging runs into the box off the back of that freedom.

Magnificent Miller 

Glory midfielder Liam Miller continues to shine in the A-League and put in another fantastic performance to pick up three points in the Alex Tobin Award.

His composure on the ball is second to none right now, while his distribution is responsible for many of his team’s attacks.

There was a heart stopping moment in the second half last night following a challenge with Emile Heskey, but thankfully it was only a clash of knees rather than something serious and the Irishman was able to continue.

It was his corner in the 85th minute which Mark Birighitti dropped, allowing Harold to fire home the winner.

Team mate Scott Jamieson summed up a lot of the thoughts in Perth right now:

The Heskey Factor 

Ok he didn’t score and he missed a sitter in the second half but there is no doubt that Emile Heskey has made a massive impact on the A-League in just over a month.

While chants of “What a waste of money” and “If Heskey played for England so can I” rang out around the stadium late on, plenty of those in attendance had come along just to see him.

Even after the game, there was a crowd of about 100 people outside NIB Stadium waiting on the players to emerge and sign autographs.

On an average night you’d be lucky to see a quarter of that.

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Neil Sherwin
Neil has covered the Perth Glory and the Hyundai A-League for five years and is one of Western Australia's most knowledgeable football journalists.

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